Sound maps are geographical maps that provide information about the sound characteristics of various locations. Until recently, such maps were technical in their function. They represented a peculiar “loud relief” of the area, showing the noise level measured at certain points, and were used to assess the noise pollution of the environment during design and construction.
However, with the advent of digital technology, a new type of sound maps has emerged - collections of sound landscapes built on topographic principle. Such maps allow us to re-structure and represent the collected and archived sound information around us, opening up new methods of “active listening” and conscious interaction with the acoustic environment.
The project “Sound Map of St. Petersburg” is a peculiar sound portrait of the city, designed to focus listeners on the uniqueness of its sound landscapes, which can be heard in places that have characteristic acoustics and demonstrate unusual sound situations.
Traveling around the city is primarily associated with visual experience: crossing the street, a person is inclined, for the most part, to look at the facades of buildings, the diversity of advertising signs, the texture of tiles or asphalt. It is much rarer to concentrate on the sound landscape, while St.Petersburg has a lot of interesting acoustic points, from which you can "observe" not only the creak of brakes, sirens and the noise of cars.
The sound map of St. Petersburg is not only the work of creating soundscapes of streets, parks and squares and the construction of full-fledged sound pictures inherent in various areas of the city, but also a study of the distinctive acoustics of various architectural structures, such as temples, arches, front doors, well-yards .
You can see and hear the “Sound Map of St. Petersburg” at the St. Petersburg Sound Museum with interactive interface, using which the city is divided into sound zones corresponding to small topographic units - a quarter, park, avenue, street, courtyard, train station or temple, which then combined in the form of a “sound mosaic”, creating a model of the urbanistic phonosphere. Moreover, the map exists independently of the user, giving the impression of listening in real time. In other words, twice passing through the same zone, you can hear the different phases of the recorded landscape.
At the same time, the choice of the listening zone can only be made by smoothly moving around the city map and, thus, creating a virtual sound tour of St. Petersburg.